The Giants of Seville

Formerly Ohio’s Biggest Entertainment Couple

She stood just one inch shy of eight feet tall! He was two inches shorter. But he outweighed her 470 pounds to 413. They met on the circus circuit traveling Europe in the early 1870s. The “Giantess Girl from Nova Scotia” was Anna Haining Swan. The “Kentucky Giant” was Captain Martin Van Buren Bates. After they married, P.T. Barnum billed them as “The Tallest Married Couple on Earth.” Years later, the history books would recall them as “Barnum’s Famous Circus Giants.”

They later moved to Seville, Ohio, and built a house for giants. The doors were eight feet tall, and the ceilings were 14 feet high. Soon, their giant house and 130-acre farm ran up bills so they joined up with The W.W. Coles Circus to make ends meet.

They had a second child after their first died at birth. This one only lived 11 hours but his birth length of 30 inches long and weight of 23 ¾ pounds earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. On a side note, when Anna was born, her mom only stood 5 feet 2 inches!

All three giants are buried in Seville at the Mound Hill Cemetery.

A replica of “The Tallest Married Couple on Earth” is in the living room at the Seville Historical Society surrounded by memorabilia from their famed days wowing onlookers at shows across the globe.

Click here to learn about other “Discoveries at the Museum”. “Discoveries at the Museum” highlights exhibits that museum visitors may brush past without knowing the profound story they tell. Here, we want to call attention to the museum pieces around Ohio that may be overlooked but shouldn’t. Although, the Giants of Seville can hardly be overlooked!

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